Sir Elton John is ''shy''.

The 'Candle in the Wind' hitmaker is known for his outrageous stage persona but he insists that's always been an ''escape'' for him from his naturally reserved ways.

He said: ''I was so shy as a child, and I am shy still. Getting onstage and doing what I did was an escape from having to be shy.''

The 72-year-old singer - who has sons Zachary, eight, and Elijah, six, with husband David Furnish - didn't have ''balance'' in his life when he first found fame but he's much happier now his personal life is more settled.

Interviewing Richard Madden for Interview magazine, he said: ''I've been successful for a long time, but I try to leave my persona onstage.

''I think you've known me long enough to know that's quite true, and that my happiness is so important in my life. It wasn't always the case.

''I became successful so quickly that my fame overtook my personal life and I didn't have any balance.''

But Elton admitted he has always found it hard to adjust to becoming himself again after a gig.

He said: ''For me, it was always a problem when I'd come off from doing a show, becoming myself again.''

The 'Tiny Dancer' singer's life story will soon be portrayed on the big screen in 'Rocketman', with Taron Egerton playing the star opposite Richard as his manager and former lover John Reid.

And Elton admitted seeing footage from the movie has been the ''weirdest thing''.

He said: ''I have seen a bit of the trailer, and it's the weirdest thing seeing someone portray you.

''Taron is so eerily like me that it makes it even weirder. I'm looking forward to seeing it, but it's hard enough to look at myself in the mirror. And then to see a film about me, it's like, 'Oh my God.'

''I have to disconnect, because it's not a factual film. It's based on fact, but it's actually a surreal version of my life, a fantasy. That makes it more interesting, because biopics -- unless they're really good, like the Tina Turner one with Angela Bassett -- are terrible.

''You couldn't do a fantasy of that, because what she went through was so hard. My life has been a crazy fantasy all the way through.''